PROUD  PROW

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‘Thames canal boat’ …..     Photo – WHB  2019   ©

PROUD  PROW

Not quite
the chair she sat in
the burnished gold
Of its throne
proud prow

so prominent

promising power
and privilege
but
nevertheless
a statement
burned on the water
of its thames-side berth

a metaphor
proudly protesting
the humility of
being ordinary
of being old
yet proud with
the magnificence of age
the decadence of time
the innocence of resurrection

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NOTE:   T.S.Eliot, in his poem, ‘The Waste Land’ (Lines 77-79:  Part II. A Game of Chess) quotes Enorbarbus, who, inAct II, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ describes Cleopatra’s royal barge as it appeared when she first pursued Marc Antony:’The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne, Burned in the water. The poop was beaten gold.’

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‘Thames canal boat’ …..     Photo – WHB  2019   ©

 

‘First Fig’ – Edna St.Vincent Millay

[  # 80 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

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Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American poet and playwright who was born in Rockland, Maine, in 1892.  I have used a short poem of  hers before in this series – in November of 2017, q.v. . . .    ‘What Lips My Lips Have Kissed’ .

This poem is even shorter, but I find that it does have a  lot to say, about her own lifestyle and about the times and the milieu which she inhabited in her heyday in 1920s New York.   Millay titled the book in which this poem was published A Few Figs From Thistles, and this poem was the first one in the book, hence ‘First Fig’.

The poem is highly symbolic and the opening line plunges the reader into that arresting metaphor which she uses to describe her wild, bohemian, certainly unorthodox spirit.   The second line, however, recognises the ephemeral nature of such an existence with the bitter-sweet ‘It will not last the night’.  She is acknowledging that brightness is not all, a candle burning simultaneously from both ends will burn twice as quickly and such hedonistic times will not last.

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Figs from Thistles: First Fig

 

My candle burns at both ends;

   It will not last the night;

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—

   It gives a lovely light!

 

2-ended candle

 

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Thoughts on a Dead Leaf

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Thoughts on a Dead Leaf

It fell
Green life
Extinguished
Time passed
Slowly
It diminished
To its scaffolding
Intact beauty still
New life
Surviving
In the skeleton
Beneath the skin
Revealing the grace
Which had upheld
Its existence
Its structure
Naked now
Spine-bold
Ram-rod straight
Not dead now
Nor even dying
Instead
Skin shed
A statement
Of creation’s power
Holding its tendrils
Steady
In firm formation
Awaiting its
Next chapter

Not yet shredded
Not yet dust
This tomography
Call it a CAT scan
Delving into
Nature’s
secret world
Revealing
The truth
Of whence
Its green strength
Derived

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Thus
As our own surface
Erodes
Do we achieve
The same beauty?
Do we secrete
Analogous
New life
Beneath the old?
We leaves
Fallen from life’s tree
Shrivelled
Our essence revealed
In our skeletal remains
Proud-structured
Until
The next stage
And eventual
Severance
From what we have been
Transmogrified
To further service
In replenishing
New life forms
Our fruition in
The new spring’s bloom
Blossom and leaves

There has to be beautywotchurch-oakleaf1
In death
As in life
Decay
Does not doom us to death
Rather
There is a beauty in death
The leaf ceased to be
A leaf
But became
Something else
And its beauty remained
It merely
Continued
Into a transmuted life
Its fate
As our own
To be
Continued existence

For death is but a metaphor
For new life

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All photographs . . .  by WHB – 2016

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A METAPHOR

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PRINTS IN THE SAND

 

I moved to the shoreline
On the beach you frequent,
Looking for traces
Of you as I went.

I slowly imbibed
The sea air, the spray,
A hint of your perfume
I caught on the way.

The rock-pools turned red
As I watched the sun die.
I knew that you’d been there,
Seen the same sunset sky.

You’d got there before me
And left your own mark.
Trusting I’d see it
Before it got dark.

So I  knelt on the seashore.
I stretched out my hand.
I thought of your purport,
Pressed my palm in the sand.

Our signs now together –
Symbols of trust.
Just a momentary message
Impaled in the dust.

I left them to wither
Side by side on the shore.
The waves would soon take them.
Together no more.

Surely a metaphor
Reflecting our past,
Our present, our future –
Envisioned at last.

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